On 4th May it was World Naked Gardening Day. I mention this because it was a turning point in my own personal self awareness, acceptance and understanding. And a moment at which I have tentatively begun to take steps about my own mental health issues in relation to Body Dysphorphic Disorder ; Dermatillonania and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours. Just writing that sentence has made me break out in a cold sweat and feel pangs of panic and embarrassment; but I’ve started on a road that I really can’t afford to hang about on, I must try and reach at least some resting destination along the way before deciding if I can face another leg of the journey.
On World Naked Gardening Day one of my fave artists characters popped up on my facebook timeline announcing this day, Hilda, by Duane Bryers. At the same time I was enthralled by a lockdown facebook page called ” Recreating Artworks from things you find at home”
On a whim this happened … It was invigorating, uplifting and a good laugh. I posted it to the page. Four thousand or so likes later and much conversation my body confidence was enhanced, and an idea began to form, thanks to a friend of mine who subsequently decided to take a selfie to celebrate the day.
I put out some feelers on FB to see if any friends fancied doing a tasteful nude of them during lockdown. The response was astounding.
Suddenly we had 24 models and had not yet chosen a charity. Opening up the decision to the 24 models we eventually chose mental health and narrowed it down to BDD Foundation , Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation).
Suddenly I felt like I needed to touch on my own journey. I wrote to the charity to ask for permission to use their logo . I ‘met’ their Head of Operations, Kitty Wallace. She told me briefly about her Dermatillonia. She shared with me a video link to another amazing woman, Liz Atkin, who spoke at the 2019 BDD Conference. Her story resonated with me, it is my story… yet still I hesitate to share it here.
I sent some info to our local papers, suddenly my own tasteful nude was in the local paper. Local people were so very very positive and kind. It boosted my confidence and solidified my resolve.
The Chairman of the BDD Foundation, Dr Ron Wilson sent us an endorsement.
“We are touched and deeply grateful to Bernice and her friend’s bravery and generosity. BDD is a common mental health disorder, affecting 1 in 50 people, but it is generally very poorly understood. This project is exactly what is needed because raises funds for the charity and increases awareness of the condition. The funds raised by the calendar will support our work in raising awareness and helping sufferers find the help they need.”
The Go Fund Me page started receiving donations; the paypal page started receiving preorders for the calendar.
Our 24 amazingly brave models each have their own story to share. Each had their own personal reasons for taking part. Some had to do selfies, others were in lockdown with a family member who could assist. Their messages to me about the fun they had, the liberation they felt, brough tears to my eyes. I’ve written about body shaming and the destructive role of the media and marketeers in this blog before.
This project takes me to the next level, and 23 or so others have taken the journey with me. They range from aged twenty-three to seventy five. Some are men others women, All the pictures will bring a smile to your face. If only I could share all their stories. Maybe after publication of the calendar I will xxx
It goes to print soon (hopefully by the end of June 2020). To pre-order calendar(s) send £10 per calendar plus P&P (large letter) costs to https://www.paypal.me/bernicerdynvilla … all profits after printing and postage will be forwarded to the charity.